Poachers kill rhino for its horn at zoo west of Paris

Animal shot three times in the head before killers slice horn off with a chainsaw

A rhinoceros in a French zoo was shot in the head three times before having its horn sliced off with a chainsaw, French investigators said.

Vince, a four-year-old white rhinoceros, was found bloodied and mutilated on Tuesday morning by keepers at Thoiry Zoo, some 50km west of Paris.

One or more poachers reportedly broke into the enclosure overnight where three rhinos were housed, Le Parisien reported.

The raid is said to be the first attack of its kind in Europe.


Thoiry Zoo said on its Facebook page it believed the poachers were disturbed or their equipment broke during the incident.

Rhinoceros horn is highly lucrative and can sell for more than its weight in gold on the black market.

In traditional Asian medicine it is ground into powder or tablets and is believed to have myriad life-giving properties.

France's environment minister Segolene Royal said: "The killing of a rhinoceros at Thoiry is criminal.

"It is time countries outlaw the trade in ivory and horn as I have done in France. "